The Skillful Teacher: On Technique, Trust, and Responsiveness in the Classroom

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It is not easy to teach well. Stephen Brookfield describes teaching as resembling a kind of “muddling through” that involves us negotiating moments of surprise as we learn our own truth about the realities of the classroom or online experience. But that doesn’t mean that great teaching can’t be achieved. Four core assumptions inform this book: that skillful teaching boils down to whatever helps students learn, that the best teachers adopt a critically reflective stance towards their practice, that the most important knowledge we need to do good work is an awareness of how students are experiencing their own learning and our teaching, and that we should always aim to treat students as adults. To that it could be added: You can become a great teacher.

In this completely rewritten edition of the bestselling classic, Brookfield restates some of the chief insights of previous editions but interprets them for new contexts, such as online learning environments and increasingly diverse classrooms. He uncovers what students most value in their teachers—that they are authoritative allies—and explains how one can develop and demonstrate the credibility and authenticity required to fill that role. Six brand new chapters cover the important topics of teaching critical thinking, using play and creativity in the classroom, teaching in teams, helping students take responsibility for learning, teaching about racism, and exercising teacher power responsibly.

Brookfield offers inspiration and down’to’earth advice to new and seasoned teachers alike. By putting the philosophy and strategies presented here into action, educators can transform the unpredictable chaos of the college classroom into an environment of engaged, authentic, and successful learning.

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